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Race, Rock, and Elvis (Music in American Life) Paperback – December 22, 2004


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Race, Rock, and Elvis (Music in American Life) + The Nicest Kids in Town: American Bandstand, Rock 'n' Roll, and the Struggle for Civil Rights in 1950s Philadelphia + Teenagers: An American History
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Product Details

  • Series: Music in American Life
  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: University of Illinois Press (December 22, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0252072707
  • ISBN-13: 978-0252072703
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.1 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #912,876 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"Michael T. Bertrand has managed to argue more cogently and with more evidential authority than any previous commentator that the music that Elvis Presley and his rockabilly cousins fashioned in the South in the 1950s represented a serious threat to various national and regional social conventions, particularly those relating to race, class, and gender." Brian Ward, Journal of American History "With his meticulous research and elegant, concise prose, Bertrand explains the class and racial origins of rock 'n' roll, situates the music within the larger context of the turbulent 1950s South, and explores the firestorm of debate that swirled around the music and its chief promoter, the hip-swiveling Elvis." Patrick Huber, History: Reviews of New Books "His arguments are always persuasive and his lines of reasoning are clear... A thoroughly absorbing piece of work." Keith Briggs, Blues & Rhythm Magazine "Convincingly argues that the black-and-white character of the sound, as well as Elvis's own persona, helped to relax the rigid color line and thereby fed the fires of the civil rights movement." Karal Ann Marling, American Historical Review "A major contribution to our knowledge of the cultural importance of early rock and roll." Craig Morrison, Journal of American Folklore

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

10 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Doris Jean on September 16, 2003
Format: Hardcover
This book intelligently delves into the impact Elvis had on the world of culture, music and sociology around. Like all artists Elvis was compelled by many artists from every musical genre. His style was a compilation of all of them. "That's All Right Mama" may have sounded like a Black artist to people in 1954, but they'd never heard anything like it. It was unique and it didn't sound like anybody else. His early Sun sides were as hillbilly as they were race and its crossover style was met with racial bais from both Black and White deejays that refused to play his records on the grounds they would offend their race conscious listeners. Elvis made his fame on stage creating mass hysteria like he was an icon. No one thought he was Black.
As Thorne Peters wrote in his book AROUND ELVIS, without Elvis and Sam Phillips opening the door for crossover audiences, Motown would've only been distributed regionally and like all other Black labels pandering to the poorly networked Black market their music would've never been heard in the commercial White mainstream. Elvis was the trailblazer that created that portal and he deserves better than to have his estate picketed by angry protesters on the anniversary of his death. E.P.E employs many Black people and gives to many Black causes and programs in the predominately Black city of Memphis. Lisa Marie Presley sponsors Presley Place for wayward drug addicted mothers and fans raise money in his name worldwide for people of all ethnicities and denominations who are in need. His family was sharecropping alonside Black people since before the civil War right until Elvis was a teen and then they came to Memphis and lived in the federal housing projects until Elvis hit it big. He certainly in no way benefitted and gained wealth based on slave labor.
It's good to see Elvis Presley finally being written about in a proper social context to highlight how powerful he remains.
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By Jennie Carpenter on September 27, 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Thank you so much for getting the book to me safely and quickly. Appreciate so much!!!
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13 of 22 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on August 29, 2000
Format: Hardcover
This is a very interesting look at rock'n'roll's positive influence on race relations in the South after World War II. Michael Bertrand has done a great job in thoroughly researching the facts and presenting his argument throughout the book. I highly recommend "Race, Rock And Elvis."
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1 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Huntsville Born on March 18, 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I never knew something dealing with Elvis could be so boring. I never would have read it if it had not been assigned for a class.
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Race, Rock, and Elvis (Music in American Life)
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